Glutathione and Detoxification
Our environment is full of natural and man-made toxins that make it into our bodies, causing numerous health issues. Learn how you can (safely!) detox your body for improved health below.
With so many man-made chemicals being released into the atmosphere and waterways, and added to foods and medications, you might wonder whether or not your body even knows what to do with such harsh materials when it comes into contact with them. After all, many of these toxic chemicals do not occur in nature, but are manufactured in the lab.
Fortunately, your body has a natural, inborn detoxification system that relies primarily on glutathione for its activation and operation.
Glutathione is one of your body’s primary antioxidants.[1. Meister A, Anderson M (1983). “Glutathione”. Annu Rev Biochem 52: 711 – 60.] It is utilized by virtually every cell in your body, in its cellular enzymatic state (glutathione reductase), to maintain the cell’s healthy (redox) state and prevent the proliferation of harmful free radicals. Naturally, to aid detoxification, glutathione levels are highest in the liver and kidneys, which are the body’s primary detoxification organs.
Cellular detoxification is broken into three phases, and glutathione enhances these stages of detoxification in many ways:
Phase I (toxin modification) – Toxins are detected within the cell, and modified through oxidation and reduction reactions into forms the body can target.
Phase II (toxin conjugation) – Once a toxin is detected and modified, its activated metabolites are then bound to or “conjugated” directly to glutathione. There are other charged species in the body which may conjugate toxins, but glutathione is the primary contributor to this process. In fact, this process is termed “glutathione conjugation.” The conjugation of glutathione disables the toxic metabolites from diffusing across membranes, so that they are removed from the body in the next step.
Phase III (excretion) – This step relies upon enzymatic derivatives of glutathione, glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), to catalyze reactions in the body to metabolize and excrete the toxins.
All three building blocks of glutathione play important roles in the completion of the detoxification pathway.
As simple as this process may seem, your body unfortunately faces a number of challenges in maintaining effective and useful levels of glutathione, which may explain why there are so many toxicity-induced diseases prevalent in North America:
A bombardment of toxins causes your body’s stores of glutathione to be run down. Unfortunately, glutathione is part of the specific system designed to deal with environmental toxins! Therefore, as the body is exposed to harsh chemicals, heavy metals, and all xenobiotics, there is a negatively-spiraling wasting of glutathione, and subsequent accumulation of toxins in body tissues.
It’s very hard to obtain glutathione in the diet – or in supplementation form. Only a few vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and carrots contain significant levels of dietary glutathione. However, it has been observed that the cooking of raw vegetables depletes their usable glutathione contents by nearly 100%. Similarly, the glutathione stores available in meat, dairy, and eggs, are only significant when the foods are in their raw forms.[2. Jones DP, Coates RJ, Flagg EW, et al. (1992). Glutathione in Foods listed in the National Cancer Institute’s Health Habits and History Food Frequency Questionnaire. Nutr Cancer 17: 57-75] Oral supplementation with glutathione has not been proven to be effective, as it is largely destroyed in the body before it can be brought into the cells in usable form.[3. Witschi A, Reddy S, Stofer B, Lauterburg BH. The systemic availability of oral glutathione. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1992;43(6):667-9.]
When we speak of environmental toxins, we are no longer just dealing with smoke from a wood-burning fire, fungal and mold toxins released from rotten food, rare poisons in the leaves of certain plants, or heavy metals found in water wells. Your body now has to ward off thousands of man-made chemicals used in food preservation (pesticides and herbicides), personal care products (petroleum bi-products), home cleaning products (benzene, chlorine, etc.) and much more.
The ML Detox System relies on the enhancement of intracellular glutathione to accelerate detoxification, while taking these challenges into consideration to deliver a superior product:
- The ML Detox System is not an intense “flush” or “cleanse,” but rather a gentle and daily support system for the detox pathways, since not a day goes by that we are not bombarded by more chemicals.
- CellDetox (step 1 of the ML Detox System) supplies your body with the three building blocks of glutathione (L-cysteine through N-Acetyl cysteine, L-glutamic acid and glycine), plus the important vitamins (B2, B6, and selenium) necessary for glutathione synthesis in the body.
- To enhance the body’s detoxification system beyond the glutathione pathways, BodyDetox (step 2 of the ML Detox System) provides the body with super-activated carbon to bind any external toxins which may surpass the body’s limitations and to bind any toxins that may be trapped in fat-soluble bile, thereby preventing re-circulation of toxins into the body.
While the risks of many chemicals are well-documented, the dangers of many others are unknown. Although chemicals are often accepted to be “innocent until proven guilty,” this has not been their pattern in history. The North American epidemic of disease in the 21st century may have much less to do with nutrient deficiency and much more to do with chemical toxicity. For this reason, more North Americans are making the ML Detox System their daily supplement of choice.